Crawford offers USD 418 reorganization plan

By Chris Swick
July 10, 2015

In the wake of the resignation of former USD 418 Associate Superintendent Chris Ruder late last month, the McPherson school board discussed possible reorganization plans to fill his position during Thursday night's board meeting.

It was the recommendation of new Superintendent Mark Crawford that the district absorb the associate superintendent's position for one year and, instead, split the job duties between himself, McPherson County Special Education Cooperative Director Gordon Mohn and Director of Information Angie McDonald.

Mohn, in particular, would pick up the bulk of Ruder's business office responsibilities as USD 418 Business Manager, while Crawford would cover the operations, transportation and technology departments. McDonald would work with classified employees and parent complaints at the district level, among other duties.

Crawford stressed that this is a one-year plan due to the proximity to the new school year Ruder's resignation came. He also made sure to add that this shouldn't be taken as a sign USD 418 is administratively top-heavy.

“To support those staff, to support the building level, we really need a robust central office that can handle a $13.5 million general fund budget, a [$4.5 million] supplemental budget, federal funds of over $1.5 million,” Crawford said. “That is a huge organization.”

Mohn would still hold on to his special education director's position, though he estimated he would be spending approximately 80 percent of his time on business office issues, with others picking up his slack on the special education end. Mohn said the idea is that the district would hire a new associate superintendent next spring, as the timing wouldn't be beneficial to hire now.

“That's an option we have considered,” Mohn said. “One of the challenges is that the pool would be shallow right now for high quality either associate superintendents or special education directors. Because what's going on if you don't have a job now? I think, if we hire in the late spring, it becomes much more attractive.”

There was no action item presented for the board to vote on. Crawford stated he would bring a formal motion forward for the July 27 meeting.

Ruder resigned June 29 amid allegations he misused funds. The specifics as to the nature of those misused funds have not been released, but Ruder has been ordered to pay restitution to USD 418. That dollar amount has not been set yet, pending the outcome of an audit.

The case has also been turned over to the McPherson Police Department for further investigation.